Music Welcome to Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The apostle Paul ends his letter to the church in Ephesus by sharing the hope he has for his brothers and sisters in the faith. Today, Pastor Rich wraps up our study in Ephesians with this sermon titled, Peace, Love with Faith and Grace.
We're in chapter 6, verses 21 through 24. This is the second part of a message first preached on February 4th, 2017 at Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. The word peace is the word Irenae, understanding the struggle that they're in, the persecution that many face, the Paul being in prison, right?
Irenae, you know what that means? He says peace to the brethren. It means exemption from rage and havoc.
Boy, we need that today, don't we? Exemption from rage and havoc. Christians, does peace describe our character? Does it describe our disposition?
We need to pray for each other in that way, definitely, because as the scriptures say in the Old Testament, be still and know that I am God. I am the sovereign one. It is my universe. I'm in control.
You are not. As I've said many times before, a Christian is, if anything, a recovering control addict. And to the degree that you try to maintain control, listen to me, to the degree that you try to maintain control of all the circumstances and outcomes of your life, you miss the peace of God. And this is why Paul says peace, exemption from rage and havoc. Yeah, there's all kinds of injustice around us. There's all kinds of darkness around us. And sometimes that darkness is in here.
Sometimes that injustice is in here. But let the peace of God rule, because he says earlier in this letter, he is our peace. Christ is our peace. May the peace of God rule your heart and mind.
What does that look like? Think about that. Contemplate that, Christians. I'm going to ask you to contemplate many things today. That's how I want to leave you with, as we conclude this letter to the church at Ephesus, we need to contemplate.
Think about what God has made known what he has done. He is our peace, he tells them in the earlier part of this book, because he has broken down the dividing wall. All the things that are prone to divide us as human beings, labels, ethnicities, behaviors, all the things that tend to divide us. Paul says, we are the church, we are in Christ, we share the riches of his grace. We are called to be one new people as a radical new community. So your engagement with others, especially in the family of God, is it characterized by peace? Is it characterized by peace?
Please contemplate that. Do the necessary personal assessment as you are walking in the Spirit. May the Spirit teach you this morning. And then he says, peace to the brethren. Then he says, love with faith.
That's an interesting phrase, isn't it? He doesn't say love and faith. He says love with faith.
It's interesting. And I ask myself, why would Paul say a phrase like that? Love with faith.
Simon Austin says, love is the inevitable outworking of the faith that unites us to Christ and makes us alive in him. It's a good statement. So I want to point out two things here. I always talk about the indicatives and the imperatives. The indicatives are, this is what's true. This is who God is, and this is what he has done.
And therefore, because of who he is and what he's done, this is what's true about you. Those are the indicatives of Scripture. The imperatives are, this is what you ought to do. The imperative here is to walk in love. Love with faith. Walk in love. The heart reaching out in love. The indicative is that Christ loved us. And we love him because he first loved us.
That's the indicative. So the imperative is to walk in love. The indicative is that they're not actually existing, but he says love with faith. But this is what we find in Scripture. We are called to walk in love, right? Investing yourself in another for their God-ward movement. Why would I do that?
And what is my resource to be able to do that? It is faith. And what is that faith? It is a fact that Christ loved me. And the only reason I would invest myself in another person for their God-ward movement, regardless of whether they deserve it or not, the only reason I would do that is because I remember and I trust that Christ loved me. That's love with faith. Faith is a heart and mind gripped by God's love. And listen, we have an adversary who is bent on making us forget that. Don't let him. And when we are preoccupied with our immediate gratification or comfort and we want to control those circumstances, that's when we forget the love of God for us.
Let's not do that. The heart and mind gripped by God's love. Take your eyes off yourself. Because the outflow of that faith, then, is love. Walking in the outflow of that faith. Love, once again, defined as investing yourself in another person for their God-ward movement. And it says, faith with love, love with faith, I'm sorry, from God the Father. He's the originator, the initiator. Meaning what? As I said, he first loved us.
Never forget that. He is the initiator, he is the originator. He first loved us and we could not love him had he not loved us first. So he says, love with faith from God the Father and the Lord Jesus Christ.
Trinitarian theology, okay? Verse 24, grace be with all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. Grace, grace. God has made us his people and it has nothing to do with our goodness. It's not about our goodness, it's all about his goodness. God has made us his people. We are one new people and so all of chapter one through three lavished upon you.
Do you know that? Listen, here's what I call you to do this morning, Christians, and listen carefully, please. There's a reason why these things are written to us in the Word of God.
What do you need to do about it? At the very beginning, what you need to do, indeed if you are in Christ, is you need to take inventory regularly of the grace that God has poured out on you. Take inventory regularly of the grace that God has poured out on you. Contemplate the goodness of God. When the storm rages, when things seem out of control, when other people are disappointing you and letting you down, stop and contemplate the goodness of God. And let his goodness, his grace, inform your attitudes and your desires.
Form your attitudes and your desires. That's how lives change. That's how grace works. And he says grace to all who love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible.
Love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible. That word incorruptible, it means undying. It's nuanced with perpetuity. It's the same word that is used in 1 Corinthians 15, speaking of imperishable, how this perishable body must put on the imperishable. The corruptible must put on incorruptible if it is to last for eternity and the body that God gives us will. And what this is speaking of, to love our Lord Jesus Christ with love incorruptible, is speaking of love for Christ that transcends this life.
The temporal here and now. It's remembering that as the scriptures tell us, we are blessed in the heavenly realms with every spiritual blessing. Take inventory of that. Contemplate the goodness of God that you and I are new creations in Christ with an assigned seat in his house.
Speak that truth to yourself, loved ones. I am a new creation in Christ with an assigned seat in his house and nothing changes that. How that will radically transform your day to day, as it ought.
You will be forever with him. You will be just like him as he promised because in his presence his fullness of joy at his right hand are pleasures evermore. There is that satisfaction that you're looking for.
There it is. You're not going to find it in the temporal here and now. There is some available to us, yes, but not in the fullness of it, not the completeness of it, as there will be when we are with him forever just like him. That's what he's promised us. That's why Paul says to the Colossian church in chapter 3 verse 2, he says set your affection, set your mind on things above. And here's what I want to leave you with now as we conclude this letter of the apostle to Ephesus. Knowing your end, and this by the way is a segue into our next series in Ecclesiastes, knowing your end enables you to live wisely, freely, and graciously here and now. We're so glad you've joined us for Delight in Grace, the teaching ministry of Rich Powell, pastor of Grace Bible Church in Winston-Salem. You can hear this message and others anytime by visiting our website, www.delightingrace.com. You can also check out Pastor Rich's book, Seven Words That Can Change Your Life, where he unpacks from God's word the very purpose for which you were designed. Seven Words That Can Change Your Life is available wherever books are sold. As always, tune in to Delight in Grace weekdays at 10 a.m.
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